In New Orleans, Jazz Fest is like Christmas. Which makes Christmas something closer to Easter. Easter is then relegated to the ranks of a Flag Day, probably, and the rest follows from there. At least that’s what it is like for me. But even people who are not willing to blaspheme and degrade generally-accepted secular holidays will agree that the annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is a seven-day smorgasbord of music that borders on magical. At midnight the full line up was released, and it goes something like this:
Arcade Fire, Bon Jovi, Robert Plant, Jimmy Buffett, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Wilco, The Strokes and Kid Rock are the big headliners in the lineup for the 2011 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Other notable nationally touring acts coming down to the Big Easy include John Legend with The Roots, The Decemberists, Lucinda Williams, Lupe Fiasco, Ms. Lauryn Hill and Michael Franti with Spearhead. And does anyone else remember Edie Brickell? Yeah, she’ll be there, too. So will Jeff Beck, who returns for a second year in a row, probably to finish the job of blowing every mind in the greater New Orleans area.
As is increasingly the case over the last few years, the announcement was met with a mixture of excitement, disappointment, trepidation and debate; not just overthe merits of the headliners themselves, but over what their presence at an event that bills it self as a “Jazz and Heritage Festival” means for the Current and Future State of Music©, local version. Without getting too entrenched in the discussion, I’ll conceded that there are undoubtedly some head scratchers in there.
But never fear, for no amount of Kid Rock can change the fact that the food is going to be amazing, the tent scene is sure to be transcendent, and the early afternoon lineups on the stages with include native heavy-hitters such as Happy Talk Band, Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns, Big Freedia and Katey Red, greatest band in the universe Rotary Downs, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Anders Osborne, Los Po-Boy-Citos, Bonerama, MyNameIsJohnMichael, The Generationals and many many more.